Matilda

Matilda fem. proper name, from Fr. Mathilde, of Germanic origin, lit. "mighty in battle;" Cf. O.H.G. Mahthilda, from mahti "might, power" + hildi "battle," from P.Gmc. *hildiz "battle," from PIE *kel- (1) "to strike, cut." The name also was late 19c. Australian slang for "a traveller's bundle or swag," hence the expression waltzing Matilda "to travel on foot" (by 1889).
In my electorate nearly every man you meet who is not "waltzing Matilda" rides a bicycle. ["Parliamentary Debates," Australia, 1907]
The lyrics of the song of that name, sometimes called the unofficial Australian national anthem, are said to date to 1893.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Matilda — f Latinized form of a Germanic personal name composed of the elements maht, meht might + hild battle. This was the name of an early German queen (895–968), wife of Henry the Fowler, who was noted for her piety and generosity. It was also the name …   First names dictionary

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